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UNIDO: Global manufacturing output up by 4.2% in Q1 of 2018

After significantly improved growth in 2017, global manufacturing may be facing a downturn related to newly announced trans-Atlantic trade barriers. According to estimates, global manufacturing output rose by 4.2% in the first quarter of 2018, which was slightly lower than 4.7% of the last quarter of 2017.

The manufacturing output of industrialized economies rose by the lower rate of 2.9% in the first quarter of 2018, compared to 3.5% in the last quarter of 2017. The manufacturing output growth of China, which accounts for a quarter of global manufacturing production, also fell marginally, to 6.3% in the first quarter of 2018 from 6.8% in previous quarter.

According to UNIDO's World Manufacturing Production Statistics for Quarter I, 2018 report, the full impact of tariff uncertainties on the dynamics of global manufacturing is yet to be seen as the first quarter figures indicate only a marginal slowdown. Observed growth rates are still high but deceleration is visible in all country groups, including the developing and emerging industrial economies where manufacturing output increased by 4.8% in the first quarter of 2018 compared to 5.3% in the previous quarter.

The manufacturing of European industrialized economies, which hit record high growth of 5.0% in the last quarter of 2017, rose by 4.1% in the first quarter of 2018. Among the major economies, manufacturing output rose by 4.2% in Germany and 4.6% in Italy. However, the performance of France was much weaker, at 2.0%.

A number of European Union (EU) economies achieved high manufacturing growth in the first quarter of 2018. Manufacturing output rose by 6.4% in Austria, 5.8% in Estonia and 9.3% in Slovenia.

Among non-EU economies, high growth was observed in Belarus: 9.9% and Serbia 6.0%, while growth was marginal in Norway and the Russian Federation.

The manufacturing output of the United States rose by 2.5% in the first quarter. In East Asia, manufacturing output rose by 2.6% in Japan and 5.2% in Malaysia. However, manufacturing output dropped in the Republic of Korea.

Among emerging industrial economies, India performed well, with 7.0% growth. Among other fast growing economies, manufacturing output rose by 5.5% in Indonesia and Vietnam.

Latin America is back on the recovery path with 2.7% growth of manufacturing output in the first quarter. Notable growth at 4.4% was observed in Brazil, while 3.0% growth was observed in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.

Estimates based on limited data showed some slowdown in Africa, where manufacturing output rose by 1.9% in the first quarter of 2018, lower than 2.3% in the last quarter of 2017. Lower growth was observed in major African economies, with manufacturing output rising by 1.1% in Egypt, 2.0% in Nigeria and 1.5% in South Africa.

The UNIDO report also presents growth figures by manufacturing industry. Output from the medium-high and high-tech industry rose by 5.0%, higher than average growth, indicating the shift of global of manufacturing to high-technology sectors. At the same time, high growth was also observed in manufacturing of essential consumer goods, with a 4.8% growth in food manufacturing.


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